Point/CounterPoint Installament #10 – After the Duke Win Against Virginia

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In this installment, Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob talk about what we learned from Duke’s win against Virginia, and what we expect going forward to the Georgia Tech tonight, and then Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon …

Query #1

We have had plenty of time to think about how and why Duke won on Saturday in Virginia.

Why do you think Duke won that game ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I have been over the Virginia game from every perspective.  I reviewed the Play-by-Play, I even went back over our comments to each other during the game.  I honestly believe that Virginia did what we both have criticized Duke for in the past – they took their foot off the throttle and it allowed Duke to double-down on their efforts.  The stern perimeter defense of Virginia got lazy and simply double-teamed “Oaks” which allowed Tyus, Quinn, and Matt to hit very big 3 Pointers and shift the momentum to Duke.  Knowing Tony Bennett, that will not happen again against anyone else in the conference !!!


Some people have credited Duke for going to a 3-2 Zone in closing moments of the game, which cut off the middle and flustered Virginia, but Duke should really be credited for playing a team game.

In the 1st Half, Virginia did a very good job of taking Okafor out of the game, offensively, and that was their mistake. When Okafor carries the Offense, it makes his team mates complacent.  Keep all 5 guys involved and Duke is formidable down the stretch.  With the big Freshman tied down, everyone was forced to get involved offensively and that does marvels for one’s confidence. Hence, Tyus Jones’s big shot at the end of the game.

I have to give credit to Okafor for overcoming a horrendous start (5 turnovers) to finish the game strong. Those guys would not have been as open as they were if Okafor hadn’t made himself into a target.  This was the most psyched I have  seen the Freshman in 21 games. He ran the floor hard and hit the Offensive Boards for a put back.  He really worried his defenders and made some clean, crucial passes.

Query #2

One of our Readers, Bill W has asked why “Plums” is not playing more, and maybe even on the Court WITH “Oaks.”

What do you think of Bill’s idea ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I think Bill has touched on an excellent point.  Very often “Oaks” seems to be playing not to Foul, which means there is no Defense at all !!!   I lost track of the BackDoor scores and times when Virginia drove the lane uncontested.  The Offense suffers when “Plums” is in because he is not an offensive threat.   He continues to try to set those goofy looking Picks much too far away from the Paint.  He does, however, play hard-nosed defense and challenges everyone who approaches.

I think he deserves more floor time.  Besides, “Oaks” seems to often be “puffed” from having defenders hanging on him constantly, so “Plums” has a role.  I also think a 2-1-2 Zone with the “Twin Towers” look, with Amile as the Center, could flummox defenders with yet another Zone look. 


Offensively, Lieutenant Plumlee has potential.  We have seen him pull off the occasional back-to-the-basket move, but those are rare occasions where he was allowed to get comfortable on the court.

I do agree with Bermuda Bob when he says that Plumlee challenges everything.  He may Foul often but he does something very valuable for this team – he hedges.  Whenever the opposing team picks off a Duke Guard, Plumlee does not retreat to the paint, but steps forward to plug the hole, stopping the easy penetration. Someone else might have let the Guard through hoping to block the shot.

Query #3

Grayson Allen got in 11 minutes of Court time against Virginia.  

What did you think of his performance ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I honestly believe that no player, especially a Frosh, can get better and contribute to his team’s system, without playing time.  Grayson has looked somewhat tentative because he has gotten only 109 minutes in the 21 games Duke has played.  A few times he never got his Warm-Up off during the game.  Since we know that he is capable of driving the Lane, and is seemingly willing to do so, I think he ought to be encouraged to.  That way, he might be more open for shots from the outside.  Let’s hope it happens for him and he gets a faire chance. 


He was not very memorable. Maybe Allen should practice dunking less and work on his overall game more. I always marvel at a kid’s Youtube highlights where he is dunking everything, then gets to college and looks grounded. With his athletic ability he should be able to get to the paint more often. For homework he should study film of Gerald Henderson and his pull up mid-range Jumper.

Query #4

What do you make of the very evident lockdown of any information about Rasheed’s dismissal ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

There are two great scenes in the movie “Moonstruck” that the banishment of Rasheed reminded me of. In each scene, Professor Perry is seated in the Grand Ticino Restaurant with a young, beautiful student of his when she abruptly jumps up, throws water in his face, and leaves. Each time the Waiter assists the Professor as he proclaims: “… just please take away all remnants of her …”

I think that it looks like Coach K has installed the “Loose Lips Sinks Ships” mode for the team.  It makes perfect sense, but it has caused a wholesale wave of speculation.  Most of it is probably a bunch of baloney by people looking for a story.  I presume Rasheed might be forthcoming sooner or later, but here’s a thought … He was not expelled, so there is no reason why Coach K couldn’t reinstate him next year after addressing whatever was the cause of his dismissal.  Time will tell !!!

Oh, and by-the-way, I believe that henceforth any questions about Rasheed to Coach K or anyone from the programme will be met with Cosmo Castorini’s (also of “Moonstruck” fame) favourite proclamation: “I don’t wanna talk about it !!!”


It is as if he was never there.

Query #6

Was this game an emotional reaction to the loss of Sulaimon, and as cooler heads prevail will the Junior’s absence be more evident from the team ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I believe fans will notice the loss more than the team will. He was a true “prime-time player” and the loss of his defensive prowess will be noticeable. Rasheed played both side of the court. I do not see anyone else on the Bench capable of filling his shoes. 


I thought that Duke may have turned a corner after the Notre Dame game because the general feeling was that they all played well but they lost. I felt that it was a “good loss” because they knew that they could “hang” with a team like that. They lost because of some key mistakes down the stretch.  Tangible mistakes that they could improve upon. Then Sulaimon got dismissed.

We won’t know if this is a distraction until maybe the second or third game after the emotions have subsided.

Query #7

What are your thoughts on the Georgia Tech game tonight ???

Bermuda Bob:

I hope that Duke does not take Tech for granted and begin to look to Saturday afternoon’s re-match with Notre Dame at Cameron.  I hope they use the game to work on execution of their Zone.  I prefer a 2-1-2 Zone to address Duke’s penchant for allowing BackDoor cuts because they rarely deny the BaseLine to opponents.  I’d also like to see Duke put the “hammer” down and finish a game as tough as they usually begin each half.


I wonder if Duke is a team that plays to the level of their competition. They get psyched for games against Louisville, Wisconsin and Virginia but drop the ball against Miami and NC State. They even played well against Notre Dame but struggled against conference bottom dwellers like Wake Forest and Boston College even though they eventually prevailed.

I want to see Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook being aggressive all game and not standing around waiting for scraps off Okafor’s plate. Also, Jahlil Okafor didn’t get to the Free Throw Line, but Duke shot only 53% from the Line. It would have been worse if Tyus hadn’t made 5-of-6. There is still room for improvement.

Query #8

Are you amazed that Duke has continued to be ranked very highly in the Associated Press ???

Bermuda Bob:

Both of the rankings are nothing more than snapshots in time, and as such makes them somewhat reactionary, almost a “What have you done for me lately” type of thing. It honestly means nothing to me. Everyone knows that the month of February is pivotal in each of the major conferences as it sets the tone and seedings of the Conference Tournaments. Those Conference Tournaments seed the Big Dance. Ranking anyone anywhere does not necessarily reflect on who they are, just who they have impressed !!!


I can see why Duke is still ranked high after losing to #8 Notre Dame and beating #2 Virginia. Plus Virginia was undefeated in 19 games, so Duke beating them on their home turf has to be rewarded. Some people point to the fact that Duke is currently middle of the pact in ACC standings. but they ignore the fact that the Blue Devils have played only 8 Conference games. Most teams have played 9. Notre Dame and North Carolina, both ahead of Duke in the standings, have played 10.


 We welcome all of your comments, and suggestions for topics !!!

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